HOBBS — Junior Kristen Cruickshank had two hits in each game and pitched a five-inning shutout in the nightcap as Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team rolled past University of the Southwest 7-3 and 9-0 Tuesday.
The sweep extended the Zias’ winning streak to six games and gives them nine victories in their last 10 outings.
Cruickshank (5-2) allowed four hits and struck out six in the second game, shortened to five innings by the eight-run rule. Meantime, the Zias broke open a scoreless tie with a five-run third on three hits, helped by two Mustangs errors.
In the fourth, Rebecca Quinones hit an RBI single and scored on a double by Michelle Anderson, who came around on an RBI single by Josette Aguirre to make it 8-0. The Zias (11-5) tacked one on in the fifth on another run-scoring hit by Quinones.
The Zias pounded two Mustangs pitcher for 11 hits. Quinones and Anderson also had two hits each.
ENMU also had a five-run third in the opener, making it 6-0, and junior Kimberly Crouse (5-3) survived the Mustangs’ three-run third — all unearned — to notch the win. Crouse allowed five hits, walked two and struck out nine.
The Zias scored in the first when Cruickshank hit an opposite-field double to left to score Laura Thompson. The third inning was highlighted by a run-scoring triple from Alex Mayo Otis and capped by Nikki Darnell’s two-run single.
Crouse settled in after the third, allowing three hits and a walk over the final four innings and benefited from two double plays.
Crouse went 4-for-4 at the plate, including a triple. Mayo Otis and Cruickshank also had two hits for the Zias, who posted a 13-5 margin in hits over the Mustangs (7-7).
ENMU opens Lone Star Conference play with a three-game series at Texas Woman’s this week. The teams play a single game on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday.